Options — it’s a way to bring people back to a neighborhood that’s seen better days. And the commercial corridor of Brookland Park Boulevard on the North Side is beginning to provide a few more choices these days.
“The idea is to give a truly healthy variety of food to the people over here in Brookland Park,” Tucker says. Although there are other options around for food (including a killer bakery, Michaela’s Quality Bake Shop, where you can find the old Thalhimer’s six-layer cake still being made), Tucker wanted there to be a New York-style deli that also offered fresh salads, soups, pasta dishes and vegetarian options. There wasn’t a place where you could find any of that on the street.
Tucker, a New Jersey native, used to promote events through his company Nomad Entertainment Services. But he was tired of the constant traveling and wanted to open his own place. He immediately saw a gap in what was available in the neighborhood where he landed. Fresh, healthy food was hard to come by.
Bandazian & Holden's executive vice-president and chief financial officer Nathan Hughes brokered the deal and the real estate company manages the property.
In the next two weeks, Tucker is also setting up a farmers' market in the lot next door to the deli. There will be a variety of farmer vendors, and the market will take place every Saturday and Sunday throughout the growing season.
But if you build it, will they come? “The neighborhood has embraced me,” he says. “My business has grown through word of mouth — people come in here, they eat, come back and they tell their friends. … Now I have people that come every day.”